Boundaries and Beyond 1995

Text 

Nothern Territory Tour

Boundaries and Beyond comprised of three separate works. Two works were remounted: Silent Thought, conceived and directed by Tim Newth, and Sacred Space, co-conceived and directed by David McMicken and Sarah Calver. Beyond Recognition, was a new cross art form collaboration between all the artists involved in the project.

Nothern Territory Tour: Darwin, Jabiru, Beswick, Katherine, Lajamanu, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Santa Teresa, Alekerenge

Director's Notes

Tracks’ main aim over the past three years has been to develop works which have a distinctive ‘Tracks’ flavour to them and are of a quality to market both Territory wide and Interstate. We are attempting to create work with a sophisticated Northern Territorian vernacular. Boundaries and Beyond content, style and cross art form sequences made a performance that did not just cater for the contemporary dance aficionado, but also appealed to all Territorians from all walks of life.

In creating the original Sacred Space we were lucky to have the services of a musician Anja Tait, now resident in Darwin. We also employed a local writer, Karyn Sassella, who has had experience travelling around the Territory as a health worker, and who has had experience in Lajamanu, the place that was the inspiration for the work. We received funding from the Northern Territory Office of the Arts for touring the programme and from the Community Writing Program.

Designer/Choreographer Tim Newth, the director and choreographer of Silent Thought, returned to Darwin for three weeks during the rehearsal programme and agreed to redirect his work for us. His experiences in Lajamanu and other Aboriginal communities were invaluable to us in remounting Sacred Space.

Creative Personnel

Co-Director/Choreographer/Performer: David McMicken
Co-Director/Choreographer/Performer: Sarah Calver
Choreographer/Performer: Berenice Franklin
Musician in Residence/Performer: Anja Tait
Writer in Residence/performer: Karyn Sassella
Choreographer (Silent Thought) Designer: Tim Newth
Costume Designer: Inge Clements
Lighting Designer: Production Manager, Tour Manager: Matthew James
Publicity Officer: Denise Officer
Project Officer: Joanna Barrkman

Scenario

Silent Thought is a powerful work about the young aboriginal women who became stockmen and bedmates to the Drovers of the North. It explores their relationship with the drover, from being taken away from family, totally dominated, and ‘broken in’ to the job like an animal, all the while satisfying the sexual desires of the drover. Their relationship is hazardous, sexual and ambiguous. “Girls dressed as boys” who legally could not intermarry. It exposes the hidden dilemma of a man showing affection when he should not, made all the more poignant when he/she dies. The inspiration for this piece was the ambiguity and the levels of loss expressed in Ted Egan’s song - The Drovers Boy - “The wounds of people and the land do not heal by being ignored.” Tim Newth

Tall white boy
Slim black boy
Side by side
Bedmate and guide
Call her a boy
The drover’s boy - T. Egan

Sacred Space explores the reactions of the Tracks performers on their visits to this isolated community and begs the questions: What is culture shock and who is shocked? People become lost in the city, but how lost are they here? It raises many issues in the white analysis of shock and confusion of the new.

Directed by Sarah Calver and David McMicken in collaboration with writer Karyn Sassella and musician Anja Tait. Sacred Space blends movement, design, language, music, text & images. This performance is centered on the community and the people of Lajamanu in the Central Desert, where Sarah, David and Karyn have strong connections.

Whenever we are in this community, we are the minority, constantly being reminded of whose land we are on. It is an unusual experience to be a minority foreigner on land that you had previously thought of as your own, as part of your heritage. Suddenly you realise that you have been misinformed and your sense of culture is thrown into high relief. This performance begs the questions: What is culture shock, and who is shocked? It raises many issues in the white analysis of shock and confusion of the new. How do new perceptions, if and when you understand them, affect us in mind, body and spirit?

This piece is all the more powerful with subtle use of the desert sand, peoples homes, projected images and text, creating the strange energy of the landscape that inspired each performer physically, emotionally and spiritually. The performance includes different ways of communicating and understanding; it addresses the roles of men and women, the separation of genders and their relationships and finally the non- aboriginal interpretations in dance and poetry.

The Opportunity Of Distance by Karyn Sassella
neighbours in a red hot land
you breezed in
and changed the way i saw things
you softened the blow
of place
of people i did not know
now no longer neighbours
both on new journeys
i see you less frequently
but as a neighbour
in that hot red land
i learnt  so clearly
that it's not the tyranny of distance
but the opportunity

Beyond Recognition is an exciting new work created collaboratively by all artists involved. Beyond Recognition integrates dance, drama, theatre, poetry, music, text and technology. The content is based on how certain people view the Northern Territory as a ‘Take Away Shop’; coming for a short visit for their grab-bag of culture, adventure, art, research and ‘spirituality’ and leaving in a whirl offering nothing in return. Others in the Territory, whilst having a commitment to the development of NT life and culture also respond similarly. It poses the question; what do I take and what do I offer in return? Beyond Recognition explores how living in such a culturally rich and diverse place as the Territory can change us irrevocably and enrich our lives.

Tracks Dance Collective 1995

Co-Artistic Directors: Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Tim Newth

[Under Brown's Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]

Photos: 

“A poignant and striking glimpse into aspects of Territory life … performances are both dynamic and innovative.” Northern Territory News, April 7th 1995

“Boundaries and Beyond is a terrific night in the theatre. It’s both hugely entertaining and extraordinarily stimulating in it’s meditations on our immediate Territory environment. The word program is a very canny amalgam of drama, dance, music and poetry. This is a show well worth seeing - it rewards in so many ways. Queue if you have to”  Patrick Mitchell, Artistic Director Darwin Theatre Company

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